November 28, 2010

Money Out, Money In

Justin Katz

Ian Donnis makes an interesting observation:

Cicilline and other Democrats have been out front in decrying the US Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, which unleased a new wave of 527 spending.

But US News recently found that five of the seven biggest super PACs this year supported Democrats.

The storyline one often hears from Democrats opposed to Citizens United is that evil corporate sources will unleash their financial heft to overwhelm the kind, sweet efforts of regular ol' voters, but clearly, the Left is not without its moneyed special interests. Indeed, it typically seems to be the case that Democrats are the larger beneficiaries when bigger money is allowed into campaign battles.

That makes sense, in a general way. As a group, those who would advocate for larger government stand to profit more from their investment in the party that favors it than the party that, if not opposing it, favors it less.

Why, then, do Democrats oppose change to campaign finance law that appear to benefit them disproportionately? Principle is probably part of it, in some cases, just as it is by principle that conservatives might oppose restrictions on campaign finance even though their side might be harmed more greatly by them. It appears more likely, by my lights, that Democrats and the Left are content with the imbalance that they have built up in areas immune to campaign finance (mainstream media, union activism, and so on). Perhaps, as well, they've been receiving the now-disclosed money all along through channels that are not so easily traced.

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Or perhaps they just wanted to get mileage out of some not so factual populace opinion just before the election. They knew the conservative position and maybe felt they could capitalize on the opposing opinion.

Posted by: G-Man at November 28, 2010 3:57 PM

At least with a union, you know where the money is coming from.
Under what the Supreme Court passed, there is no disclosure. Hopefully, more states (such as Minnesota) will require disclosure for the sources of these contributions and allow the public to hold corporate donors accountable, as unions are.

Posted by: bella at November 28, 2010 6:14 PM

bella-A union takes member dues and spends it on candidates many members may not support,but who the leadership clique supports without any internal vote.What's okay about that?Because the unions contribute to liberals?
I watched George Nee this morning with Taricani and Rappelye-in his true hoodlum fashion he talked circles around the issue.People like him and Bob Walsh are real outgoing with money basically extorted from members.
I mean,the members HAVE to be in a union to get certain jobs,so in effct that is extorrtion.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 28, 2010 8:30 PM

"Indeed, it typically seems to be the case that Democrats are the larger beneficiaries when bigger money is allowed into campaign battles."

Oh, please. Corporations will buy influence from whomever is in power. To suggest otherwise just tells me you're blind to how the system works (or cynically trying to blind others).

In the 2006 election cycle, business political action committees (PACs) gave 66% of their $234 million in donations to Republicans. This year [2007], though, corporate interests have rewarded Democrats for taking back control of Congress for the first time in 12 years by funneling 58% of their $7 million in early money to them, according to an analysis of Federal Election Committee data by PoliticalMoneyLine. "Money follows power realignment," says Bernadette A. Budde, senior vice-president of the Business Industry Political Action Committee. "We're telling [business] people, 'Be prepared to do business in a town that continues to look very different.'"

"...that Democrats and the Left are content with the imbalance that they have built up in areas immune to campaign finance (mainstream media, union activism, and so on)."

The MSM? It's really hard to take this stuff seriously.

The Problem of the Media (required reading for those buying in to that particular myth)...

Over the past generation, "free market" neoliberals have understood the importance of media as an instrument of social control far better than anyone else. The leading conservative foundations have devoted considerable resources to reducing journalistic autonomy and ideological diversity and pushing media in a more explicitly pro-business direction. The pro-market political right understood that if big business dominated the main fora for political education and debate, then public scrutiny of business would be markedly reduced. These same "free market" foundations fight any public interest component to media laws and regulations, oppose any form of noncommercial and nonprofit media, and lead the battle to ensure that public broadcasting stays within narrow ideological boundaries. In short, we had a major political battle over media for the past generation, but only one side showed up. The results are clear, and appalling.
Posted by: Russ at November 29, 2010 11:07 AM

Joe, that's the difference right there. There are union leaders you know and can hold accountable for their actions. They have to defend (or make excuses for) their actions.
The people who contribute to these other organizations like American Crossroads and Americans for Common Sense don't have to be held accountable under federal law.

Posted by: bella at November 29, 2010 11:08 AM

Russ-you make your liveliehood from a corporation,don't you?
If you feel that strongly why don't you take your IT credentials and set up shop on your own?

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 29, 2010 3:01 PM

Not sure your point there. Yes, I work for a company, a nonprofit company. I've even started a couple companies.

Posted by: Russ at November 30, 2010 10:59 AM
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